Like Eating Too Much Ice Cream...
Gregor von Kallahann | 05/31/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"There have always been commercial acts cooked up by the industry, it's true. But the "Idol-ization" of America--and the rest of the world--is a disturbing trend. And even though Il Divo were never reality show contestants, they were dreamed up by the chief "Idolator" Simon Cowell himself, and I reserve the right to be suspicious, and even a bit contemptuous of any music produced under his aegis. He is a Schlockmeister par excellence, and while he backs acts that do demonstrate (often) real talent, he makes sure that those talents are framed in the cheesiest, most overwrought settings.
The Amazon critic above makes an apt musical comparison to the "pre-Fab Four" the Monkees (yes, he subtly disavows the analogy, but you can tell he's proud to have come up with it). The thing about the Monkees was that even when they wanted to grow musically, their image and reputation held them back. Mike Nesmith was, in fact, a good musician and songwriter, but having been a member of a manufactured commercial group continued to haunt him throughout his career.
The individual singers of Il Divo are all talented enough, but are they good enough to ever live this tripe down? I'm not so sure. I know they're bombastically belting all the way to the bank these days. That may be enough for them. But audiences are being done a real disservice here. Savvy marketing and pretty faces don't make up for an utter lack of taste. Fans will, of couse, get defensive and dismissive of any and all criticism levied against their poperatic "divi." I can only honestly respond, "Look up the word 'overkill,' and tell me how that term does not apply here."
A smashing beginning
Ancora | 04/15/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
Prepare to be hooked. I first heard about Il Divo around five months ago, and was immediately hooked myself after seeing their performance of Amazing Grace on YouTube. I first bought their latest album, "The Promise," blissfully unaware, and was blown away. Finally, I thought, a near perfect combination of class and modern music.
It was interesting to jump from their latest album to their first album. "Il Divo" offers a pleasing mix of flavors, yet you can tell that they are just getting comfortable singing as an ensemble. The harmony parts at times fight with each other (all part of the adjustment), but you soon forget that as you listen to the music they offer.
Opening with Regres A Mi, a strong song that builds marvelously to the climax, the singers command attention and interest, yet at the same time they do not seem to shout their feelings at you. (Which I greatly appreciated.) You can really hear all the thought and hard work that goes into their phrasing all throughout the album.
-Mama is touching without becoming overly sweet or tacky.
-Nella Fantasia flows like water and really showcases their immaculate vibrato.
-Passera offers a sweet and slightly playful song that is one of my favorites from the album.
-Unchained Melody is beautiful, but they take their time building to the climax, which I felt could have used some more movement in the lyrics (it drags a bit in my opinion).
-Every Time I Look At You is sufficiently tender and loving, with particularly nice phrasing. One of the last lines always makes me chuckle ("...please turn out the light...") but they make it work.
-Ti Amero is great song, offering a break from the sweeping orchestra parts to a more shaped melody and simplistic accompaniment. Very fun to listen to. I particularly like the way the vocal parts play off one another.
-Dentro Un Altro Si starts of weightlessly and pretty much stays that way.
-The Man You Love nicely blends Spanish and English. Easy to listen to, with robust harmony.
-Feelings--when I saw they were singing this my initial thought was, what next? I Think I Love You by the Partridge Family sung in Italian? I have to say, though, it's a tastefully done arrangement. You don't get too much of a saccharine feel when you listen to it.
-Hoy Que Ya No Estas Aqui builds gradually up to passionate, bordering on frantic, really. A good job getting into the song.
-Sei Parte Ormai Di Me is another of my favorites. Great expression, and nice arrangement of the accompaniment. A song with definite direction.
-A Mi Manera--what can I say? Who doesn't love Sinatra? A spot-on performance!
Overall 4-1/2 out of 5 stars."